Friday, November 06, 2009
Each Christmas, my dad would select and buy each of us (kids) a craft to keep us busy and to learn a new skill.
Back in the day, we had a store called "Lewiscraft" and it was amazing. This is where dad did his Christmas shopping.
I remember one year, I received a kit that was a quasi-stained glass kit and the black outline was actually a tubular shoe lacing and the colours (glass) were various shades of aquarium gravel. Oh, it seemed to take forever because one step we glued the lace over all the lines AND HAD TO WAIT FOR IT TO DRY. Ergh! Then we filled one section after another with white glue and the black gravel, then another section with the grey gravel, then the blue or green and the last colours were yellow and white. Can you remember how long it took white Elmer Glue to dry??? These kits had a nice picture frame for each kit to decorate our bedroom walls.
Another year, I received a leather kit and the pre-cut pieces looped together to make a belt. The more pieces you used, the bigger the belt! I probably wore that craft until it wore out and self destructed in the back of a closet!
Remember Plastigoop? I had a craft kit where a little square element would heat up, the liquid plastic could be squeezed into a metal mold and after it cooked (watch how it changed colour slightly), voila! You had a rubber Fun Flower, or a rubbery bug, (a Creepy Crawler?) and various other themes in this product. I remember my dad trying painstaking effects with the colour bottles. His flowers were unrivaled for artistic interpretation!
Dad made sure we tried the macrame craze. I think I was supposed to knot up a shoulder purse with beads on the front flap. I remember one statistic: One inch of finished macrame takes 7 inches of cord! 7:1!!! Is this crazy or what??? Those plant hangers that used to go from ceiling to floor must have been crafted in peoples' hallways or off a balcony or something. Who had that much room to devote to a handcraft?
One year we were given various beads and clear fish line. (That would be around the time my baby brother had stopped trying to eat all our craft materials.) A one-string necklace or bracelet was fine, but the craft magazines were showing 6 and 8 strand creations! OH MY GOODNESS! How did they manage to crisscross and keep the fishlines straight? I think my beading days were a bit of a fiasco.
I was given a paint-by-number kit with the little joined pots of paint all numbered and ready to pop their lids! I had the challenge of a white capped ocean scene and I thought the variety of blues was really stunning. Did we have to start with the lightest shades first or the darkest? All I remember of that craft was that 'next time' I would use some thinners and blend the colours better. My end result looked like a scene that had no subtlety whatsoever.
When we got a bit older and were allowed to use the stove, my dad, bless his heart, bought us some candle wax, the package wick, dye (looked like crayons to melt) and a candle making book. I remember one project used a waxed milk carton, some ice cubes, the wick was weighted and wire stiffened and I think I chose purple dye. This candle had open spaces where the ice had challenged the hot wax. If I remember correctly, if I shook the candle, it had pockets of water sloshing inside for a few years. Dad tried making a sand candle: he used a bucket filled with sand, dug the shape he wanted and poured the wax around the delicately placed wick. It was a three legged beauty!
We were happy with our Etch-A-Sketch that allowed us to be artistic no matter what the age or skill level. We enjoyed the colouring books and sticker pages that all the cousins could share. We seemed to have crafty items all over the house and most of them never got finished. I think dad and I loved the thrill of the new challenge and fresh concept more than the tangible handcrafted item that was supposed to be decorative and useful.
To this day, I like to visit fabric stores and design things in my head and on the napkin during a meal. My sewing machine has taken the place of glue and knotted cords.
Have you got a crafty project on the go right now or is there an artistic 'something' fermenting in the back of your mind? Let us shun the 'ready made' this weekend and stretch our artistic selves to try a handcrafted project in the next few days!!!
I dare ya!